Wellington’s Road: Acting â€˜Blackâ€™
By Brian W. Carter
Sentinel Staff Writer
When I was in High School I was sometimes referred to as being an “Oreo” or a “Carlton”(which kind of was the same thing since the Carlton character was sometimes teased for acting “white”).
I would also be teased for speaking proper English, being a poor basketball player, not speaking the slang at the time (in 1993) and I didn’t sag or wear baggy pants. In my youth, I’d either ignore the taunts or play into the stereotype.
I always found it silly to be held to these stereotypes…and by another race at that! (I went to a basically all-Korean middle/high school, but that’s another story).
Nevertheless, I’ve seen and heard the stories through the years, from family and friends, about not being “Black” enough, or being called a “Ritz Cracker” (brown on the outside, white on the inside, targeted at lighter-skinned Blacks) or acting “Bougie.”
I remember my sister told me someone accused her of being “white-washed” because she said “please” and “thank you,” because Blacks don’t do that…what? I’ve heard people being criticized for the genre of music they listen to or don’t listen to and so on, and so on…yadda-yadda-yadda…
Stop the nonsense please! I know this age old issue is still being perpetuated today…there is no such thing as acting “Black” or “White!” I know what is being said when the accusation is being thrown, but people let’s stop insulting ourselves in the process.
So are we saying that by acting “white”…a person is civilized, speaks good English and conducts themselves in a proper manner? If that’s true, what is acting “Black”…the opposite? Uncivilized, speaks broken or bad English and acts improperly?
Shouldn’t we all be speaking proper English, conducting ourselves in a proper manner and actng civilized? Now, I’m not saying you’re uncivilized if you talk slang, wear your clothes a certain way and listen to certain music…of course not. I’m just saying, don’t accuse another Black person of acting “white” if they don’t hold the same views, lifestyle or choices that majority of Black people hold.
I can’t act “white” because I am Black! I was raised to speak proper English by my parents and in school. How someone wears their clothes, carries themselves, or what type of people they associate with…or even where someone lives shouldn’t dictate a person’s “Blackness.”
Let’s stop the acting “white” and “Black” phenomenon. It’s just tired now.